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The term e-mental health refers to the use of the internet and related electronic communication technologies to deliver mental health information, services and care.1–3
Various e-mental health applications have been developed, including:18
- instant messaging or video-based counselling services (also known as telehealth, telemedicine or telepsychiatry)
- consumer information portals
- online support groups, forums and social networks
- online assessment or diagnostic tools
- blogs and podcasts
- therapeutic gaming programs, robotic simulation and virtual reality systems.
e-Mental health: A guide for GPs (the Guide) will focus on e-mental health interventions, which are highly structured online programs that aim to improve users’ mental health by enhancing their knowledge and skills.18 These programs generally rely on a framework of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), but they may also include elements of other established psychological treatments traditionally delivered in a face-to-face format, such as acceptance and commitment therapy, interpersonal psychotherapy, solution-focused therapy, mindfulness-based therapies and motivational interviewing. e-Mental health interventions are sometimes called computerised or internet CBT (cCBT or iCBT), web-based or internet-based therapy, or e-interventions.
To use an e-mental health intervention, the user will visit a secure website via a computer, smartphone or tablet to view and download educational material and engage in therapeutic activities. Most programs are arranged into a series of lessons or modules accessed in a particular order, with ‘homework’ activities to assist the individual to consolidate learning and practice new skills.20 Many use a range of multimedia, such as text, graphics, audio and video, and interactive elements, such as self-assessment and self-monitoring tools.18